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That’s the question raised by this terrific Wall Street Journal story. The firm is GlobalOptions, an extremely well-connected company run by, among others, former FBI and CIA officials. The Kazakh government apparently retained GlobalOptions to monitor, and possibly seek to derail, a Justice Department investigation into James Giffen, an American oilman who is suspected of paying tens of millions of dollars in bribes to President Nursultan Nazarbayev.
Dariga Nazarbayeva, the Kazakh president’s powerful daughter, reportedly lined up the services of the private-security firm. (I met Dariga a few years ago at a reception at the Washington offices of GlobalOptions. She invited me to visit Kazakhstan and told me that if I took her up on the invitation I was certain to meet some beautiful local women. Quite a strange encounter.) In addition to being extremely “murky” in its operations, GlobalOptions was also (as I reported a few years ago) an Iraq war profiteer.
More from Ken Silverstein:
Perspective — October 23, 2013, 8:00 am
How pro-oil Louisiana politicians have shaped American environmental policy
Postcard — October 16, 2013, 8:00 am
A trip to one of the properties at issue in Louisiana’s oil-pollution lawsuits
I recently spent a semester teaching writing at an elite liberal-arts college. At strategic points around the campus, in shades of yellow and green, banners displayed the following pair of texts. The first was attributed to the college’s founder, which dates it to the 1920s. The second was extracted from the latest version of the institution’s mission statement:
The paramount obligation of a college is to develop in its students the ability to think clearly and independently, and the ability to live confidently, courageously, and hopefully.
Let us take a moment to compare these texts. The first thing to observe about the older one is that it is a sentence. It expresses an idea by placing concepts in relation to one another within the kind of structure that we call a syntax. It is, moreover, highly wrought: a parallel structure underscored by repetition, five adverbs balanced two against three.
Percentage of Britons who cannot name the city that provides the setting for the musical Chicago:
An Australian entrepreneur was selling oysters raised in tanks laced with Viagra.
A naked man believed to be under the influence of LSD rammed his pickup truck into two police cars.
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“Shelby is waiting for something. He himself does not know what it is. When it comes he will either go back into the world from which he came, or sink out of sight in the morass of alcoholism or despair that has engulfed other vagrants.”